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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 25 April 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – JAN DREXLER – GIVEAWAY WINNER

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – JAN DREXLER – GIVEAWAY WINNER

“The promises we keep are important – promises to God, our husbands, our children, and ourselves. But the greatest promise of all is the promise God gives us in Jesus Christ.”

 

“Bringing you home…

…to a world of Plain living, simple values, and strong families. Stop by often as I share about my upcoming books!”

 

WINNER! WINNER!

 

Congratulations to

JODI HASSEL

Jan will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jan grew up surrounded by books and storytellers. With Pastors and Teachers populating both sides of her extended family, we aren’t surprised that she wanted to be a first-class storyteller herself.
Born and raised in Michigan, Jan is the descendant of Amish, Mennonite and Brethren immigrants who settled in Berks, Somerset and Lancaster Counties in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700’s. The descendants of these immigrants pioneered in Maryland, Ohio, and finally Elkhart and LaGrange Counties in Northern Indiana in the 1850’s.
During the years when Jan was raising and homeschooling their children, she and her husband moved nine times in thirty years, finally landing in South Dakota where they enjoy incredibly Michigan-like weather. A northerner is always a northerner!
The ideas for Jan’s books come from the stories told by her parents and grandparents, seasoned with a lot of research and imagination.

 

www.JanDrexler.com (be sure to subscribe to my newsletter!)

www.facebook.com/JanDrexlerAuthor

www.bookbub.com/profile/jan-drexler

http://seekerville.blogspot.com/

http://yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/JanDrexler

 

 

“Amish women spend many hours in their kitchens, providing delicious meals for their families… some of my favorite recipes have been handed down from my mother and grandmothers.”

 

GIVEAWAY

Jan is offering a print copy of Convenient Amish Proposal or The Sound of Distant Thunder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Jan Drexler, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 25 April 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY SEEKERVILLE BLOG BLITZ– AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RUTH LOGAN HERNE

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RUTH LOGAN HERNE

“Romancing the West… One lonely cowboy at a time.”

 

“Endearing and enduring, fiction that talks to the heart… and soul.”

Please give a feathered welcome to Ruth Logan Herne.

FAST FAVES

Cake or Cookies  Both

Call or Text  Call

Dogs or Cats  Dogs

 

rem:  Hullo Ruthy! Welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

RUTH:  I was raised in the old 10th ward neighborhood in Rochester, NY where it was a very nice, Pleasantville kind of experience…. Although I was the poor kid on the block. Most folks there were Leave it to Beaver middle class nice folks…. Now I run a pumpkin farm with my husband who retired last year, when I’m not writing sweet books or caring for beautiful grandkids… I am absolutely blessed to have the life I have now, Robin!

rem:  Pleasantville was a fun movie—but I love that you have a pumpkin farm now! Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

RUTH:  Well, there aren’t three…. Because I’m an open book kind of person, but I can tell you that my faith is huge… it is my rock, my salvation and my joy… and I have so much fun sharing that with others but I also do love my silly miniature donkeys “Alexis” and “Tanya” and I think that chocolate in any form is Best Food Ever.

rem:  Me, too, Ruthy. Me too! What is your favourite quotation and why?

RUTH:  Too many…. Biblical I love Ecclesiastes 3, the common sense of understanding that to everything there really is a season… and that we need to abide when things get tough. But I have Ben Franklin faves including “Plenty of time for rest in the grave” and Yoda’s “There is not try. There is do or do not.”  It fits my pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps nature!

rem:  Both of those are a good swift kick to procrastination… What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

RUTH:  Dust.

rem:  I literally LOL’d at that!! What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

 

RUTH:  I love Remember the Titans and It’s a Wonderful Life and the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice…. TV…. Gosh… I don’t take a lot of time for TV, I’d rather write stories, but if we’re talking current, it would be the NCIS before Ziva left…. And I’ve only recently discovered how incredibly funny The Big Bang Theory is…. J

rem:  Well, we have quite similar taste in all of those!!  #ColinFirth  #swoonfest If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

RUTH:  Happy right here….. Plumbing. Antibiotics. Electricity!!!! J

rem:  GURL!! What fun you n me would have sitting down over a nice hot cuppa!! Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

RUTH:  Oops, answered that above…..

rem:  #winkwink  And both are rather the epitome of faith. If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

RUTH:  Oh, Anne of Green Gables. Absolutely. We would have so much fun!!!

 

rem:  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

RUTH:  I am often amazed and blessed by how the rise of erotica led to the rise of Christian fiction because there was so little out there to buy that wasn’t getting more and more offensive… It opened a huge door for a building industry. Talk about an action/reaction sequence!  And if I never wrote another book, my relationship with God would be unchanged… It was my mainstay before I was published and it’s the core of who I am. When I’m not being a snark, of course!

rem:  Well color me educated! Just learnt something new! What better response to the evil of this world, than Scripture nestled in parables! (sounds like something Jesus would do… ) When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

RUTH:  None….

rem:  What would you do if you weren’t writing?

RUTH:  Start writing….

rem:  Again with the LOL’ing! Love it! What are you reading right now?

RUTH:  I actually just read my own “Welcome to Wishing Bridge” because I’m working on book 3 and I wanted to refresh my memory on the inflections and characters… the whole tone of Wishing Bridge.

rem:  Ya, I’ve had to do that a time or three… What do you munch on while you write?

RUTH:  Cookies…. But I munch on cookies and Veggie Straws no matter what I’m doing. #addicted

rem:  I wanna try those. You were one of the original founding members of Seekerville. Tell us about the early days. Who first thought up the name? What do you like best about it?

RUTH:  We formed the Seekers with the Biblical basis of “Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it will be opened unto you…” because breaking into writing is a tough, competitive business.

rem:  I lovelovelove that origin! What was your first Seekerville post?

RUTH:  Too long ago to remember, LOL!

 

rem:  Oh, Ruthy! LOL How many recipes have you tried on the Yankee Belle Café? What was your favorite?

RUTH:  A big fave is chocolate cream pie… but there are so many. And I just love food!!!

rem:  I gotta look that one up—I’ve been craving a GOOD chocolate cream pie and the store bought one I got was a HUGE disappointment! Your style, and your website, is rather how I envision mine—a friendly gathering with family and friends. Surely you have a good anecdote or two you can share with us…

RUTH:  Hahahahahaha! If only I were that clever! J

rem:  Oh but you are!! #bestanecdoteever! BAHAHAHAH  I just watched through the photo slide show on your blog! Love it! And I gotta ask, what’s the big vat of red gooey stuff?

RUTH:  Oh my stars, what blog???? My abandoned Ruthy’s Place that I don’t have time for??? It’s so funny these days, because in order to be an effective author, you need to write books… so I focus on that and Seekerville and the Café with Missy and Jan and Mindy and Cate… I love those gals!!!

rem:  I love those gals, too! And yes, I totally get it juggling writing and blogging and, well, life… Your blog is such a fun place, and you seem to be a quirky, fun, perhaps even snarky gal. How much of that shows up in your characters?

RUTH:  A lot. I don’t like whiny women, I want them to be strong in spite of their mishaps and troubles and whatever terrible things I throw at them, at least strong eventually… because we women have to tough it out more often than not and there’s nothing wrong with that. If I were in the 19th century, I’d be marching for women’s rights to vote and own property or anything else they were being denied…. Ee gads, that was ridiculous!

 

rem:  I don’t like whiny ANYbody!! Grates on my nerves! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

RUTH:  Long and eventually published. J

rem:  The condensed version, I see. #winkwink What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

RUTH:  Cave. In the middle of the night. That way no one bothers me.

rem:  The advantage of living alone, I suppose… (me, I mean. I live alone.) What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

RUTH:  Everything.

rem:  Meeee toooo!! (Well, except the marketing… UGH) What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

RUTH:  Too many…… The easiest is the writing. And the readers. Love ‘em.

rem:  Meeee toooo!! We really are twins!! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

RUTH:  I’m going to leave that to Seekerville… write, write, write.

rem:  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

RUTH:  Yes…. But it’s in my head. I don’t plan…

rem:  Pantzer not plotter! I don’t do it either… What is your current project?

RUTH:  Working on Wishing Bridge 3 “At Peace in Wishing Bridge” (working title) and my spring 2020 Love Inspired…. And the second Prairie Brides historical.

rem:  OY! I don’t know how you keep them all straight! Anything you’d like to add?

RUTH:  I hope everyone had a blessed and wonderfully thought-provoking Lent and a happy Easter… I love Easter, it has not been spoiled by commercialism and it’s such a marvelous holy day!!!!

rem:  You are so right, Ruthy. It is our defining event as Christians. Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

http://ruthloganherne.com

https://facebook.com/ruthloganherne.3

https://twitter.com/ruthloganherne

https://www.pinterest.com/ruthyloganherne/

https://www.amazon.com/Ruth-Logan-Herne/e/B004KQJKW4

 

 

 

“The one thing we can probably all agree on is that things change… and our survival, that of any animal, depends on adaptation and adjustment.   And God gave us amazing brains and abilities, so I believe we’ve got this… eventually… and we’ll adjust and adapt as needed.”

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview – Seekerville Blog Blitz, Ruth Logan Herne

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 18 April 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – MINDY OBENHAUS – GIVEAWAY WINNER

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – MINDY OBENHAUS – GIVEAWAY WINNER

“Did you know God is the author of romance? He’s been wooing mankind for thousands of years. And while He doesn’t promise us a life without tears and trials, He does promise a happily ever after to those who know His son, Jesus.”

 

“Don’t you just love a happy ending?”

 

WINNER! WINNER!

 

Congratulations to

TRACY URSCHLER

Mindy will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren.

 

http://mindyobenhaus.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Mindy-Obenhaus/e/B00EF48LV2

https://www.facebook.com/authorMindyObenhaus

https://twitter.com/MindyObenhaus

https://www.pinterest.com/mindyobenhaus/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6984427.Mindy_Obenhaus

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/mindy-obenhaus

 

GIVEAWAY

Mindy is offering a copy of Her Colorado Cowboy.

 

“Standing at the kitchen sink today, up to my elbows in soapy dishwater, I stared out at the rain, suddenly and overwhelmingly struck by His graciousness. It was a humbling moment because, so often, I fail to consider all that God has done for me.”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Mindy Obenhaus, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 18 April 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY SEEKERVILLE BLOG BLITZ– AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY – JAN DREXLER

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEWAY – JAN DREXLER

“The promises we keep are important – promises to God, our husbands, our children, and ourselves. But the greatest promise of all is the promise God gives us in Jesus Christ.”

 

“Bringing you home…

…to a world of Plain living, simple values, and strong families. Stop by often as I share about my upcoming books!”

 

Please give a feathered welcome to Jan Drexler.

FAST FAVES

Call or Text  – Text

Dogs or Cats  – Dogs

Paperback or Kindle – Paperback

 

rem:  Hullo, Jan! Welcome to my little nest! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

JAN:  I was raised in south-west Michigan, and still love the Great Lakes. After I got married, we moved all around the mid-west with my husband’s job and have finally settled in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

rem:  Must be something magical about those Black Hills! Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

JAN:  1) I would have had a dozen children if it had been possible. (rem: ME TOO!!!)

2) I traveled around Europe after college. Just me, my backpack, and my Eurail card. (rem: HOW FUN IS THAT!)

3) I have read through the Bible seventeen times and have a good start on my eighteenth. (rem: color me impressed! I bow to you.)

rem:  What is your favourite quotation and why?

JAN: From C.S. Lewis. “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” This quote reminds me that as much as I love the things of this world, God has more, better, higher, and everlasting joys awaiting us.

rem:  So much truth in Mr. Lewis’ words!! What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

JAN:  You should see my desk. It’s full of random things! But the most random is probably my stuffed hedgehog. He’s there only because he’s cute.

rem: D’awww, how adorable is that. What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

JAN:  Favorite movie is probably Mary Poppins. My favorite TV show…that’s harder. Probably NCIS.

rem:  I do love Julie Andrews (she’s one of my most favorite actresses) and I do love me some Mark Harmon…  #swoons  If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

JAN: I’ve always like the 1910’s – the years just before World War 1. That era had its own unique innocence.

rem:  Oh yes! That was actually the setting of my last series—1912 and 1913. Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

JAN: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. I am not a brave person, but this verse reminds me that I don’t have to be brave when I go where God is leading me.

rem:  I was thinking about that just a little bit ago! No matter what comes our way, if our focus is on Him, we have nothing to fear! (and yet, so hard to do… )  If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

JAN: Samwise Gamgee from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. He was content to have a simple supper by the fire and a quiet chat. Wouldn’t you love to hear Sam tell the story of his adventures?

 

rem:  I’m sure he’s quite a few stories to tell. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

JAN: Christian fiction provides stories of hope in a devastated world. Being a novelist has forced me to clarify the details of my faith. Just like teaching any subject makes you a better student of that subject, writing about the Christian faith has made me a better student of that faith.

rem:  I love how you say that, Jan. So simple and so elegant. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

JAN: My fiction pet peeve is a character I can’t like. I keep hoping they’ll change by the end of the book, but sometimes they don’t. If I can’t find a character to root for in a book, I won’t be reading that author again.

rem:  Can’t imagine a story without at least one likeable redeeming character!!!  What would you do if you weren’t writing?

JAN:  Even if I wasn’t a published author, I’d still be writing. I might be teaching, or working in a retail store, or in an office. But I’d still be writing.

rem:  When the stories be there, they come out one way or another! What are you reading right now?

JAN:  I just started Pepper Basham’s book, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream.

rem:  Oh! What a lovely, exquisite book! I love Pepper’s stories! What do you munch on while you write?

JAN:  I used to enjoy Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips. I’d eat one for every 100 words I wrote. But…well…it’s sad to say, but that wasn’t helping my waistline. So now I keep a box of sugar-free mints on my desk and have one of those when I get a craving.

 

rem:  You had me at Ghiradelli… How did you become a Seekervillian, and what do you like best about it?

JAN: When Seekerville was rebooted at the end of 2017, I was invited to become part of the second generation of Seekers. The thing I love is helping new writers navigate the steep learning curve ahead of them, and the friends I’ve made through the blog.

rem:  So.Many.Friends in this industry! (wish I’d had someone to help me navigate when I was thrown in the deep end… of a deep ocean… in a tsunami… LOL )  What was your first Seekerville post?

JAN:  It was back on October 19, 2013, titled “Keeping Calm and Carrying On.” It was my first guest post, and I can’t describe how nervous I was!

rem:  Me too, when I’m writing a guest post. Love the title! Which of the recipes on the Yankee Belle Café is your favorite?

JAN:  Wow! Do you know how many recipes we have on that blog??? (rem: bwahahahah) But I think my favorite is one Ruthy shared years ago for New England Scalloped Potatoes. That is a perfect comfort-food dish!

 

rem:  Mmmmmm!!! I love scalloped potatoes = comfort food.  You have a rich heritage of “Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants” from which to draw upon for your stories. True confession: have you ever used a true story in one of your novels? How much did you have to adapt it to “protect the innocent?” #winkwink

JAN: I’m not shy to say yes! I’ve gleaned most of my story ideas from dinner table conversations and genealogy details. I usually change the names, and I’m always quick to say that the stories are only based on a single detail and a lot of “what ifs!”

rem:  That’s some wisdom there. I mean, don’t most of our stories germinate from something or someone in our real lives?  You’ve lived in several states before you landed in South Dakota. Moving ranges from traumatic to comical. Share with us an anecdote from one of your moves.

JAN:  Let me just say up front: I hate moving. (rem: ME TOO!!!)  One of the most memorable moving stories, though, has to do with my little oak table. I love my little oak table. It was the first piece of furniture I bought for my first apartment, purchased at a garage sale for ten dollars. I still use it as my desk.

During one move (from Texas to Indiana,) one of the movers decided to remove the legs when he packed the table in the moving van. You guessed it – when they unloaded our furniture at the other end, one leg was missing. (I still don’t know how one table leg can go missing from a locked truck…or why.)

A couple years after the move, we found a woodworker who was willing to try to replicate the missing leg. He did a perfect job, and now I can’t tell which leg the replacement is!

rem:  Oh my!!! Glad you found someone to replace the “runaway!” How are you surviving this season’s Arctic-opalypse?

JAN:  I love snow! I love cold weather! Surviving isn’t a problem for me. 😊

rem:  That’s a good thing! LOL I don’t mind the cold so much, but it makes the RA quite disagreeable. What’s your favorite thing about Black Hills?

JAN:  Everything. The climate, the mountains, the cowboys, the history… And there is nothing like the sound of the wind in the pine trees or the smell of pine needles on a hot summer day. I even like the million tourist who fill up our city every summer (but I also love it when they go home in the fall!)

rem:  Love the history, and especially love-love-love the sound and smell of pine trees. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

JAN:  I started writing for publication in 2011, when my youngest boys reached the end of their high school years. Up until then, homeschooling satisfied my creative bent. I sold my first book to Love Inspired Historical in 2012, and I’ve been busy ever since.

rem:  Yeah, once that writing fever strikes, there’s really no cure. LOL  What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

JAN: Now that we’re practically empty-nesters, I finally have an office to call my own. With a door. That locks. *happy sigh* That’s where I do all my writing. I write five days a week, and usually during the hours just before and after lunch. I seem to be most productive then.

rem:  So. Disciplined. Said me, who is definitely not a morning person OR that structured. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

JAN:  I always had a hard time in school because I couldn’t stop daydreaming and making up stories. Now I get paid for it. How cool is that?

rem:  Oh yes, I totally get that!! #mymindwanderstoo  #allthetime  What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

JAN:  The hardest thing is making time for all the extras – the marketing, blogging, book signings, etc. Even though all those things are enjoyable, I need to squeeze them in around my writing time.

The easiest thing is when my editor sends me my revision letter. Going through the story and making those changes puts the finishing touches on a story I already love and making it stronger is pure joy.

rem:  The marketing is still a struggle for me. UGH  What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

JAN: 1) DO give yourself time to learn. It’s a steep learning curve.

2) DO read as much as you can – fiction, non-fiction, new books, old books.

3) DO learn what makes a story work. Either through reading books in your genre or reading books on the writing craft, you need to understand “story” before you write one.

 

1) DON’T compare your writing journey to someone else’s. That’s their story, not yours.

2) DON’T let the fear of success stop you. Yes, fear of success. Give it to God and forget about it. Just write the best story you can. (rem: agree 1000%)

3) DON’T let the fear of failure stop you. Write the best story you can, knowing that you will have opportunities to change it and make it better. Nobody writes a finished draft on their first time through.

rem:  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

JAN:  I develop my characters and decide on the major plot points before I start writing. If I plan too much, I don’t have anything left to give to the story. If I plan too little, I don’t have a road map to follow to keep the story on track.

rem:  That’s the best balance I’ve heard!!  #plottervspantzer  What is your current project?

JAN:  I’m working on the third book in “The Amish of Weaver’s Creek” series for Revell.

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

JAN:  The heroine of the story has been a secondary character in the first two books of the series. Pretty much all we know about her after the first book is that she married young and married the wrong man. Everyone is sad for her, but no one knows how to help. In this book, we see her transform from a victim to a strong young woman with a future.

rem:  I love bringing in secondary characters to star in their own story! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

JAN: My favorite part (yet to be written, actually!) is when Elizabeth realizes that she’s been lying to herself and everyone else. She realizes that she’s been acting the part of a content, single woman and member of the church. But that was before God started working on her! I hope as my readers read it, they will find themselves examining why they are part of their own church. Social reasons? Family reasons? Or is it because of their relationship with Jesus Christ?

rem:  Ooohh, love that! Please give us the first page of the book.

JAN:

June 1865

Weaver’s Creek, Ohio

Elizabeth Kaufman closed her eyes, leaning her head against the back of the rocking chair on the shaded front porch. A bird sang somewhere above the roof, its fluid call carrying through the quiet afternoon air like an autumn leaf falling. It rose, then paused. Rose again, then swooped down only to end on a high trilling note.

She sighed. Contentment.

A shriek from inside the house brought an abrupt end to the bird song. Katie’s pounding feet on the stairway and more shrieks brought Elizabeth to her feet, her knitting falling to the porch floor.

“He’s coming!” Katie Stuckey slammed the wooden screen door open and grabbed Elizabeth’s arms, spinning her in a circle. “I saw him from the window! On the road!”

Katie jumped off the porch and headed down the lane toward the road, leaving Elizabeth breathless and alone on the porch.

“Who?” Elizabeth called after her, then laughed to herself.  Who else could it be? The long-awaited day had finally arrived. Jonas was home.

It was a happy day, for sure. Elizabeth picked up her knitting and went into the house. Katie’s reunion with Jonas should be private, but they wouldn’t be alone for long. The family and members of their Amish community would be gathering together at her parents’ house to welcome him home. Elizabeth’s brother had been away for three long years with only brief, occasional visits to Katie and the family. Even those had ended after the first year as the war had dragged on.

rem:  What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

JAN:  My tag line is “Bringing you home…” I hope that my books give readers a longing for home – both here on earth and our greater Home yet to come.

rem:  Jan, that’s lovely. Anything you’d like to add?

JAN:  Thank you for having me! It has been a lot of fun!

rem:  My pleasure, Jan. Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

“Jan Drexler explores the vast chasm between law and grace….between forgiveness and bitterness….between relationship and duty….”

 

www.JanDrexler.com (be sure to subscribe to my newsletter!)

www.facebook.com/JanDrexlerAuthor

www.bookbub.com/profile/jan-drexler

http://seekerville.blogspot.com/

http://yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/JanDrexler

https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Drexler/e/B00CLGAGAK?

 

GIVEAWAY

Jan is offering a print copy of Convenient Amish Proposal OR The Sound of Distant Thunder. (US only, please.)

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at midnight on Thursday 18 April and end at 11:59 on Thursday 25 April. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

 

RAFFLECOPTER

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b485f64b16/?

 

“Amish women spend many hours in their kitchens, providing delicious meals for their families… some of my favorite recipes have been handed down from my mother and grandmothers.”

http://yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com/2016/09/jans-best-molasses-cookies.html

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview and Giveaway – Seekerville Blog Blitz, Jan Drexler

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 11 April 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY SEEKERVILLE BLOG BLITZ– AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY – MINDY OBENHAUS

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY – MINDY OBENHAUS

“Did you know God is the author of romance? He’s been wooing mankind for thousands of years. And while He doesn’t promise us a life without tears and trials, He does promise a happily ever after to those who know His son, Jesus.”

 

“Don’t you just love a happy ending?”

 

Please give a warm feathered welcome to Mindy Obenhaus.

FAST FAVES

Cake or Cookies – Cake

Dogs or Cats – Dogs

Yoga Pants or Jeans – Yoga pants, so I can eat more cake.  rem: best answer ever!!

 

rem:  Hullo Mindy! Welcome to my Little Nest! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

MINDY: I was raised in Michigan but moved to Texas shortly after high school. Since then, I’ve lived in Oklahoma, Germany, South Dakota and Iceland, but have called the Lone Star State home since 1991. I live on a ranch with my husband and the youngest of my five children.

rem:  From snow country to heat wave! Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

MINDY:  Hmm…since I’m kind of an open book, there’s not much that NO ONE knows, but here goes. Most people see me as an extrovert, but I often see myself as an introvert. I like pancake batter better than pancakes. And, until about a year before I started writing, the only reading I did was in the form of magazines.

rem:  I.LOVE.YOU!!! I, too, wasn’t the avid reader so many authors were—and have always been. I thought I was deficient in some way! LOL What is your favourite quotation and why?

MINDY:  I’m not big on quotes, but my favorite scripture quote would have to be “All things work together for good.” I’ve seen God work even the most difficult times of my life for good, so this is something I cling to, especially when times get tough.

rem:  That’s so hard to remember when we’re in the midst of those difficult times, but so very important! What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

MINDY:  Tweezers. Did you know that after 40 your eyebrows migrate south to your chin? 😉

rem:  bahahahahah  (I passed 40 long ago… ) What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

MINDY:  Good question. Now if I only had an answer. Christmas movies are the only ones I watch over and over so, maybe, It’s a Wonderful Life. Same with TV shows. Though I think I have seen every episode of The Brady Bunch.

rem:  I had such a crush on Peter!! #swoons If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

MINDY:  I don’t know. I’m not one to look back. Though the 1950s might have been interesting.

rem:  The 50’s DID give the world… ME!!!  #winkwink Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

MINDY:  Only one? Probably Romans 8:28, which also happens to be my favorite quote.

rem:  Yes, yes, yes! I love the book of Romans! Especially chapter eight! If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

MINDY:  Boy, you ask some tough questions, Robin. rem: MUWAHAHAHAH  Maybe Melody Johansson from Carla Laureano’s Brunch at Bittersweet Café. We could bake (and eat) all evening.

rem:  Ooohhh… that book (and The Saturday Night Supper Club) is on my TBR catalog, er, uh, list… What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

MINDY:  Christian fiction is a way to reach others with the gospel in a manner they can relate to and without being preachy. My relationship with the Lord has grown immeasurably since He called me to write for Him, because I have to put Mindy aside so I can write what He wants me to write. When I try to deviate from that, things never turn out well and I end up having to go back and do it the way God wanted it anyway. It’s much better to do thing His way from the get-go.

rem:  Amen, Mindy, so very true!! When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

MINDY:  I have to have a happy/satisfying ending. And incorrect details bug me, especially if it’s something that could have easily been researched on the internet.

rem:  Research is so important. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

MINDY:  Probably trying to figure out a way to open a dessert shop in our little town. There’s not one restaurant—mind you we don’t have that many in a town of 3700—that serves an indulgent dessert.

rem:  I’d be your first customer—but perhaps a character could do that for you. What are you reading right now?

MINDY:  The Rancher’s Unexpected Baby by Jill Lynn.

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

MINDY:  Nuts, but only occasionally. I always have a drink (hot tea or water), but I rarely snack at my desk. Instead, I make myself get up and walk to the kitchen to snack.

rem:  That’s so smart, Mindy, and so disciplined! Especially since we spend so much time sitting. How did you become a Seekervillian, and what do you like best about it?

MINDY:  I’ve asked myself that same question. I was floored when Missy Tippens contacted me about joining Seekerville. I really enjoy learning from the ladies that have been on there since its inception, but I also like interacting with those folks who stop by every day.

rem:  Such an honor, indeed. The camaraderie amongst members—and guests—at Seekerville, and in this industry is perhaps its greatest strength. What was your first Seekerville post?

MINDY:  It was entitled “God is in the details – And we should be, too.” It was about adding details in our writing the way God is detailed in His creation.

rem:  I do like the way you think! Such a profound title, and truth. Have you tried the recipes on the Yankee Belle Café? What was your favorite?

MINDY:  Yes, I have. Ruthy’s bread and bread pudding recipes and Jan’s Joes for a Crowd is often a go-to when I have a houseful.

rem:  I shared the bread pudding recipe on my blog a few weeks ago but I have yet to try it—now I must! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

 

MINDY:  Growing up, I never saw my mom without a romance novel in her hand. She had bags and boxes of books all over the basement. When she moved in with us in 2003, she brought many of those books with her. Except they didn’t look the same. The covers weren’t hokey and actually captured my attention. So I read the back cover copy. Then the first page. Next thing you know, I was reading all the time. rem: LOVE IT!

I soon realized that, throughout my years of having and raising kids, I’d been making up stories in my head and began to wonder if I could write. So, I grabbed a spiral notebook and did just that. That was in 2004. In 2005, after I’d competed my first manuscript, I realized I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing. But I kept at it, writing, learning, rewriting, until I got my first contract in 2013. I still write, learn and rewrite, but the process is much faster these days.

rem:  Yesss! The importance of a good cover. ‘Nuff said.  What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

MINDY: I have an office in my home where I spend much of my weekdays. Writing is my job and I try to keep regular hours. (rem: again with the discipline) Mornings are usually spent catching up on emails, blogging and social media, while my best writing seems to happen in the afternoon. However, as deadlines draw near, that routine often flies out the window.

rem:  Ha! What do you mean when you say you’re “a little bit country, a little bit rock-n-roll?” How much is country and how much is rock-n-roll?

MINDY:  It means I like living large, but I also appreciate the simple things in life. I enjoy getting all decked out for a night on the town, but I’m also not afraid to get dirty. I like putting on my ballcap and 4-wheeling through the woods, picking wild berries and frying up a mess of catfish. But I also like high-tea, wearing heels and eating sushi. These days, there’s a whole lot more country than rock-n-roll in my life, but I’ll jump at the opportunity to dance the night away.

rem:  I’d say that’s a well-rounded way to live. Tell us about your love of Ouray, Colorado. What’s your favorite thing about Ouray?

MINDY:  I do love Ouray and everything about it. My husband’s grandparents had a photography studio in Ouray in 1920, near the end of the goldrush, and I fell in love with the town the first time my mother-in-law introduced me to it in 2006. My favorite thing about Ouray is that it’s so majestic, and it’s all God. The beauty of that area never ceases to take my breath away.

rem:  It really is, isn’t it? I visited Ouray way back in 1987, with the Madrigal choir from Mesa College in Grand Junction. We performed a musical for them for a festival they hold in January. Kinda holds a special place in my heart, too. Not long ago you shifted from city life to ranch life, and renovated the house—got pics? How does country living compare to city living?

MINDY: I do have pictures.

 

I am loving country life. I miss some of the conveniences of the city, but rural life is far more relaxed. I like looking out the window and seeing cattle or deer instead of the houses across the street. It suits me.

rem:  Where I sit with my laptop, I can—and do—glance out the front door. While there are houses across the street, there are also horses behind them, and I catch glimpses of them meandering or frolicking sometimes. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

MINDY:  Aside from creating, probably hearing from readers who’ve been touched in some way by one of my stories. Because each story is about that one person who’s just waiting to hear some morsel of truth that speaks to them.

rem:  Yes, yes, yes, and yes!!! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

MINDY:  I think the hardest thing about publishing is finding where your stories fit. Which publisher is a good fit for the kind of books you like to write. The easiest is… Wait, is there something easy?

rem:  bahahahahah No kidding! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

MINDY:  DO join a writers’ group. DO find a critique group. DO go to as many conferences, meetings, etc as you possibly can. Not only will you learn, you will meet people who will help you along your journey.

DO NOT assume that just because writer A does this and this and this when writing his/her books, that it will work for you. Some things will work, others aren’t a good fit. You have to find a process that works for you. You should never feel stifled.

DO NOT be discouraged by unfavorable contest scores/feedback. Study it, learn from it. You can mope for a day, then it’s time to get back to work.

DO NOT give up. If God has called you to write for Him, press on, no matter how long it takes, because the journey with Him is worth it.

rem:  All so true, and all so wise. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

MINDY:  Sometimes. I try to plot a story before I begin to write, but sometimes the panster in me just can’t wait so I have to give myself the freedom to write the opening chapters.

rem:  Pantzer for the win! LOL What is your current project?

MINDY:  Her Colorado Cowboy, the fourth book in my Rocky Mountain Heroes series, released just this month.

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

MINDY:  The same reason I write every book, because God called me to write it. And I wanted to see what kind of sparks might fly when a socialite afraid of horses was paired with a former rodeo champion who’s in the process of opening a rodeo school.

rem:  MUWAHAHAHAH! Such a wicked sense of humor. (as all good authors have… ) What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

MINDY:  Naturally, my favorite part is the setting. 😉 (rem: of course) But I love the characters. Lily may be a socialite, but she’s down-to-earth, practical about raising her children and grounded in her faith. Noah is a wounded soul going through the motions of life without really living. I hope readers will enjoy not only escaping to Ouray, but watching these two people with shattered dreams and broken hearts find a joy they never imagined.

rem:  And now I must read it, of course! Please give us the first page of the book.

MINDY:

            Lily Davis had lost her mind.

            She loathed horses. Yet, somehow, she’d allowed her children to talk her into taking them horseback riding. What was she thinking?

            Knuckles white, she guided her luxury SUV across the cattle guard of Abundant Blessings Ranch and Trail Rides, her gaze darting from the majestic mountains that backdropped the picturesque setting to the menacing red-and-white metal building that sat a short distance from the road.

            She swallowed hard. Any other time she would have put her foot down, but she was desperate. They’d only been in Ouray for three days, and already her kids were begging to go back to their friends and electronic devices in Denver.

            Okay, so it was her ten-year-old son, Colton, who did most of the complaining. He thought everything was boring. On the contrary, her seven-year-old daughter, Piper, had proclaimed Ouray, Colorado the most beautiful place ever. Which was good, because returning to Denver before the end of the summer was not an option. Not if she wanted to save her son from following in his father’s footsteps.

 

rem:  I do love the name Piper. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

MINDY:  Life doesn’t always turn out the way we might have planned. But God always has a plan, and joy will come in the morning.

rem:  So so true! Anything you’d like to add?

MINDY:  I think you’ve covered most of the bases. Thank you for having me, Robin.

rem:  Mindy, thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

 

http://seekerville.blogspot.com/

http://mindyobenhaus.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Mindy-Obenhaus/e/B00EF48LV2

https://www.facebook.com/authorMindyObenhaus

https://twitter.com/MindyObenhaus

https://www.pinterest.com/mindyobenhaus/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6984427.Mindy_Obenhaus

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/mindy-obenhaus

 

GIVEAWAY

Mindy is offering a copy of Her Colorado Cowboy. U.S readers can choose between print or ebook. Ebook only for international readers.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at midnight on Thursday 11 April and end at 11:59 on Thursday 18 April. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

 

RAFFLECOPTER

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b485f64b15/?

 

 

 

“Standing at the kitchen sink today, up to my elbows in soapy dishwater, I stared out at the rain, suddenly and overwhelmingly struck by His graciousness. It was a humbling moment because, so often, I fail to consider all that God has done for me.”

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview – Seekerville Blog Blitz, Mindy Obenhaus

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 4 April 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – KAREN JURGENS – GIVEAWAY WINNER

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – KAREN JURGENS – GIVEAWAY WINNER

“Finding God’s encouragement along life’s road.”

 

“As a single mom for over twenty years, my goal is to encourage women on both sides of the marriage fence.”

 

 

WINNER! WINNER!

 

Congratulations to

MELISSA HENDERSON

and

LORI SMANSKI

Karen will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Living in Texas for more than 30 years has been an adventure, but Karen still proudly claims her Cincinnati roots. She spent her career as a high school English and French teacher and will always be a lifelong learner. She loves everything French, especially creating gourmet cuisine for birthdays and holidays, and you will likely find French culture and language in whatever she writes.
She began a new ministry, Touched by Him, where she blogs monthly. Her passion is to share answers from God’s Word about life’s trials and to incorporate those answers into her fiction stories, especially written for women seeking God’s best in marriage.
Her greatest accomplishment has been raising two lovely daughters who are now grown and living out their own adventures. Along with her mother who is now 95, the four of them enjoy fun times together shopping, dining out, and traveling.

 

https://karenjurgens.com/

https://karenjurgens.com/heartwings-devotional/

https://karenjurgens.com/blogtalk-radio/

https://twitter.com/KarenJurgens200

https://www.instagram.com/karen_jurgens/

www.linkedin.com/in/karen-harrison-52aa4071

https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Jurgens/e/B016CXTOOG/

 

 

“The best lesson I have learned from life, which can often be unfair, is how to get through the hard times with joy. Enjoying our lives and being grateful for the life we have been dealt is the name of the game–not envying others or regretting the past.”

 

 

GIVEAWAY

Karen is offering one copy each of A Perfect Fit and Heart”wings” Devotional, print or e-book, winner’s choice.

(Paperback copy to a US address, only.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Karen Jurgens, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 4 April 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY SEEKERVILLE BLOG BLITZ– AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY – MARY CONNEALY

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY – MARY CONNEALY

“Don’t be afraid to strive and sweat and pray and fail and strive and pray some more for the desires of your heart. Because my books and this site are proof that dreams can come true. That with God all things are possible.”

 

So the real moral to [that] story (and who am I to rewrite Aesop? Because it’s HIS moral) is STEADY wins the race.”

 

I am pleased to welcome Mary Connealy to my little nest.

 

FAST FAVES

Cake or Cookies –  Cookies (yeah, like I’m picky!)

Call or Text – I’m old school, definitely call

Eggs or Pancakes – I’m on a low carb diet. I would KILL for a pancake, but the correct answer here is eggs (darn it!)

Facebook or Twitter – Facebook, I’m doing my Spring Parade of Calves right now! (rem: I love your Spring Parade of Calves!!)

Paperback or Kindle – Paperback, no contest. I need to get with the modern world!

Yoga Pants or Jeans – oh, so totally yoga pants!

 

rem:  Hullo Mary, and welcome! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

MARY:  I’m a born and raised Nebraska woman! I grew up about ten miles from where I live now. My husband is my high school sweetheart.

rem:  OY! I moved so much, I can only imagine what that must be like!  #weebitjealous… Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

MARY:  Wow, I’m such an open book. Umm…

  1. I am from a family of eight brothers and sisters. What can I say…it was the baby boom.
  2. I was so painfully shy as a child I’m sure, now days, they’d put me on medicine.
  3. I taught GED for about ten years after my kids were mostly grown. I can help you so much if you need to multiply fractions!

rem:  I was shy, too, once upon a time! And crippling, overwhelmingly insecure. What is your favourite quotation and why?

MARY:  This is so hard. I go immediately to Bible verses but I have so many of those I love. I’m going to say, “If God is with me, whom shall I fear.” I don’t think that’s even a correct quote from the Bible, there’s more to it than that. But that’s in my head whenever I do something really scary…like give a speech!

rem:  And a grand quote-slash-verse it is, too. Captures so many verses, and the essence of who God is—or rather, who we are in Him. I’ll offer Romans 8:28, “In all things, He works for the good of those who love Him…”  What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

MARY:  Well, it’s probably random to you, but I have an eyepatch, you know, like a PIRATE, on my bedside table. Ever since I had a retinal detachment follow closely by cataract surgery on my left eye, I can’t read in bed at night using both eyes. Sitting in a chair is okay, but lying down it’s just all wrong…glasses or not. So I use an eye patch. Like a big dork. Arrggg!

rem:  Arrggg, indeed, Matey!! What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

MARY:  Movie is easy because forever my favorite has been, “While You Were Sleeping.” I consider every moment of that movie just perfect. I’ve watched it a dozen times. It’s when Romantic Comedy was really something great.

TV show? Well, I loved Remington Steele back in the day. (rem: I remember that show!)  What’s that? The eighties? I really don’t watch much TV. If it’s on, I usually have my computer open or a book open. Not much holds my interest.

rem:  Love that movie—one of my fav’s as well. If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

MARY:  Oh, I probably wouldn’t go back. I’m not real interested in a time without air conditioning.

rem:  Right!! Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

MARY:  I went with a Bible verse for the quotation, but I’ll add another. Isaiah 40:31 And he will raise you up on wings like eagles. You will run and not get weary. You will walk and not faint. I just typed that so probably not a perfect quote, but it’s a verse that reminds me of my dad when he was dying of cancer. I said that verse as a prayer for him a thousand times hoping God would heal him. And then, when Dad died, it took me a while, but finally I realized God had done exactly as I asked. Because Dad was so sick and he was a man of strong faith. When he left behind the earthly suffering, God did, indeed lift him up on wings like eagles and carried him to a place where he can run and not get weary. Walk and not faint.

rem:  So sorry for your loss. Precious, though, how Father God wrapped you in His Word.  If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

MARY:  These are HARD Questions!!!! (rem: MUWAHAHAH!!!)  I’ll go with the first thought. Sherlock Holmes. I like how his mind works. Of course, that’s Arthur Conan Doyle. He had to be really smart to write such a smart character, so probably better to spend time with Doyle!

 

rem:  Smart answer! Pick the brain of another author!  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

MARY:  There’s a line in one of my books that says, “The parson came to live in Mosqueros, Texas as an answer to a prayer Sophie wouldn’t begin praying for five years.”

I feel like I fit that because I began writing for a line of fiction I wouldn’t discover until I’d been writing for a long time. But I refused to write things against my faith. I wanted to write romance and back in the early 90s, romance was starting to have increasingly graphic sex scenes between unmarried characters and also more profanity and just a nice list of things I couldn’t see myself writing. So, I wasn’t getting published and I kept working and writing and pitching books and getting rejected for my sweet little secular romances and all of a sudden I discover Christian fiction. It was like I’d been writing for the Christian publishing world for years without knowing it existed.

rem:  Good on you, Mary, for sticking to your (ahem) guns and writing what Father placed in you and not what the market expected. He has surely rewarded you.  When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

MARY:  I always say, “If they’re sassing each other and running for their lives while they’re falling in love, then I’m happy.” That’s what I want to read and that’s what I write.

Pet Peeve? I suppose reading books with graphic sex scenes between characters who barely know each other. (I read widely in all genres…well, MOST genres) Then they have sex and it’s all like SHAZAM!!! We’re in love. That’s just such a terrible lesson for everyone. That the sex comes first. Terrible lesson.

rem:  Yay for you reading wide, and yes to the need so many authors feel to have such graphic scenes! What would you do if you weren’t writing?

MARY:  Honestly…I’d be writing. I just love it. That’s a bad answer but it’s the truth. I guess, second choice…holding grandbabies!!! I’ve got some little dolls, let me tell you!!!

rem:  Ain’t nothing like holding granbabies!! Only mine ain’t so little anymore! (9 & 13) What are you reading right now?

MARY:  I just got, in the mail, White City by Grace Hitchcock. I have only read the first chapter but it’s about a serial killer at the Chicago World’s Fair. Have you heard of the book Devil in the White City? This is set at the same place. I can’t wait to get back into it.

rem:  Oohhh!!! I keep seeing that one—must needs make room for it in my review queue! What do you munch on while you write?

MARY:  Did you read the part where I’m on a low carb diet? Munching is a big no-no. Currently my ‘munch of choice’ is pecans. Fairly low carb. But I long for Doritoes!!!

 

rem:  I did, and I offer my sincerest condolences. Must needs, I will make the, uh, sacrifice and eat extra carbs for you… (see what a friend I am?) You were one of the original founding members of Seekerville in 2004. Tell us about the early days. Who first thought up the name?

MARY:  First we were all finalists in a contest together. The contest started an email loop to pass on info about the contest. We had so much fun talking that when the contest was over we didn’t want to stop. So we created a yahoo group and gathered a few other contest divas we’d been running into on the unpublished contest circuit. The word Seekers…it was a combo word about seeking publication and seeking God. Our goal was to pray each other into publication and one by one we got contracts. I think the very first email was sent by Audra Harders and she might have been who created the Yahoo Group. It’s called Seek and Ye Shall Find, and we nicknamed ourselves Seekers. We didn’t start the blog for at least a year after we started talking.

rem:  I love this industry so much for that exact reason!! With but a very few rare exceptions, every other author, and blogger, I’ve connected with has become a friend. (one who can commiserate the struggles of said industry!)  What was your first Seekerville post?

MARY:  That is lost. We updated our blog and I can’t find those old posts anymore. I was probably either whining about something or giving unsolicited advice that later proved to be useless. That’s what my posts usually amount to.

rem:  I have a hard time believing that! Have you tried the recipes on the Yankee Belle Café? What was your favorite?

MARY:  I have actually been on Yankee Belle Café. I’d be on more but I can’t remember to photograph when I’m cooking! (rem: hard remember to do when the food is so enticing… )

My favorite recipe is barbeque chicken recipe fast and delicious.

A crockpot recipe…so fast to prepare but slow to cook.

One bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts

One bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce

One chopped onion

One can of drained pineapple chunks

Throw it together and cook for oh…four hours or so, however long you need to.

Shred the breasts with two forks and serve.

 

rem:  Ummm… I might need to borrow this for my recipe feature some time.  #winkwink Tell us a little about your writing journey.

MARY:  This is long. Um…struggling to give you a short version. I just love sitting around making stuff up. I had twenty finished books on my computer when I got my first contract. That is probably obsessive compulsive disorder but my husband let me get away with it.

rem:  Stories are always in a writer’s brain!! To infinite and beyond…  What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

MARY:  I write sitting in a recliner in my living room. I write 1000 words a day. Many of them late at night because I’m an insomniac. I’m very low maintenance. No special tea, no particular music needs to play. No scented candle burning. I can get interrupted by a phone call, then jump right back into the book.

rem:  Hey! We be writing sisters! Sorta… What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

MARY:  I love everything about being a writer. I love that blank screen waiting for the first word. I love action. I love revisions. I love holding a new book in my hands.

rem:  Okay, we truly are writing sisters! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

MARY:  It took forever. I wrote for ten years before I got my first book published. There is no easy part. In fact, if it isn’t getting harder all the time…you’re probably doing it wrong.

rem:  The struggle is real!!!  #somanyplatestojuggle  What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

MARY:  First of all, do what works for you. I’ll give advice but don’t take it if it doesn’t work. The longer I write, the more authors I know, the more ways I find that work for someone.

Here’s my advice…feel free to ignore it.

  1. Write every day. Before I was published I wrote 300 words a day. (it’s 1000 now) I called it a Fast 300. It’s just over one page. I often wrote more but I rarely wrote less.
  2. Writing the first sentence each day is the hardest. Chances are you quit the day before for some reason. Maybe a phone call. Maybe it was supper time. But often you quit because you’re done with a scene and you’re not sure where to go next. That’s why setting a short but strict word count works because if you can just write that first sentence, you can often write much, much more. And the word count makes you get your backside in a chair, get the computer fired up and the word document open.
  3. Don’t let anyone critique your book until the first draft is done. Other people, very well meaning people, can give you advice that leads you astray from the story YOU want to tell. In fact, their advice might be really great and before you know it, you’re off your own track. Finish the book, then let someone critique it.

 

rem:  Such wisdom there, Mary. You were a stay-at-home mom and a teacher before you were published. Your first contract came on the heels of a let-down. Tell us about that night.

MARY:  Well, Barbour Publishing used to have this wonderful tradition of giving a contract to one unpublished author at the ACFW Conference. I had a book in with them, they’d had me edit it and work on it, so I knew I was a contender and then the moment came………and they called someone else’s name. So I’m sitting there clapping, thinking, “Hey, I’ve been rejected before. I’m used to it.”

And then for the first time ever, I think before or since, they said, “And tonight we’re giving two contracts to first time authors.” And they called my name. (rem: LOVE this story!)

I still get chills when I think of it. I went up there, Tracie Peterson was the presenter, 300 people clapping and people running out of the seats to hug me as I went up. It remains one of the greatest, most wonderful moments of my life.

rem:  You are married to your “own romantic cowboy hero.” Do you draw from him for inspiration in your stories?

MARY:  All the time

rem:  Perfect! Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

MARY:  I have to propose a three book series so I don’t just think of the entire story, I think of three entire stories and try to figure out a book length arc and a series length arc. But, within that, I mainly am a seat-of-the-pants writer. So I am daydreaming the beginning of the first book and I’m thinking of the characters I want and how to group three people together. Friends, brothers, sisters, neighbors…and I know I want happily ever after. In between, one zillion details, I’m making up as I go along.

rem:  OY!! That’s scary to an Indie pantzer such as like myself. LOL What is your current project?

MARY:  I just had a book release called The Unexpected Champion and I just turned in the final edits on book one of a new series called Brides of Hope Mountain. Book #1 is called Aiming for Love.

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

MARY:  Let’s talk about The Unexpected Champion. I always wanted to set a book around Lake Tahoe. I love the beauty of it and the remoteness. So I’ve got my setting, now I need to figure out a story. And what drew me was the idea of pathfinders. (rem: ooohhh, aaahhh… )

Men who lived in those rugged mountains, found a trail through them, and loved it and survived it. So I began my journey into the wilderness and finally, with Book #3 of the High Sierra Sweethearts series, The Unexpected Champion, came out of the wild, and got my characters fairly safe and happy. (I say ‘fairly’ because come on, there is deep snow and dangerous mountains, packs of wolves and outlaws. And that’s just every day stuff.)

rem:  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

MARY:  The fun of The Unexpected Champion was trying to set it in Virginia City and also inserting a Pinkerton agent into the book. I really liked doing that. It was a little different for me and I like trying something new.

rem:  That does sound fun—I love the unexpected. Please give us the first page of the book.

 

MARY:  The Unexpected Champion

Book #3-High Sierra Sweethearts Series

June 1868

Nevada Territory

 

Chapter One

Dismal, Nevada—Never had a town been named so right.

Penny Scott had been here once before. The land office here was where she and her brother Cam had registered their homesteads last fall.

Dismal had a lawman, but he didn’t pay much mind to the law, which was fair since Dismal didn’t pay much.

Penny, along with her brother-in-law Trace Riley and this stranger, John McCall had come to town to turn in a dead body.

Trace Riley was anxious to get back to his wife.

Penny and John agreed to stay since Trace hadn’t really seen anything. He just knew the lawman in Dismal a little, and when a group rides into town with a man draped over a saddle, a man with three gunshot wounds and a whole passel of teeth marks from a wolf—bringing along a man the sheriff knew and trusted was a mighty good idea.

Now that the howdys were out of the way, and Sheriff Walters didn’t seem to be planning to lock them up, Trace could go on home.

Trace offered to ride the body over to the undertaker. Sheriff Walters told Penny and Scott he had a man half-shaved in his barber chair and he needed them to wait just a few minutes while he finished.

That showed a marked lack of concern on Walters’s part, which Penny took as a good sign. The only possible surprise might be a wanted posted with a hefty reward. Surely a polecat like Raddo Landauer was wanted for something.

Beyond money though, Raddo was dead. Nobody cared. Unless being mighty relieved counted as caring.

Penny decided it didn’t count.

Trace went off with the body.

The sheriff went back to his strop and razor.

Penny looked at John McCall. “Let’s go find a quiet place to talk.”

McCall arched a brow but came along quietly, as if the empty dirt street of Dismal wasn’t quiet enough.

Dismal had two strips of businesses that faced each other like a couple of gunfighters at high noon. A dirt Main Street wide enough for two buckboards to pass. Probably fifteen buildings in all, one ramshackle store after another, bare wood, hand painted signs if the owner was ambitious…and plenty weren’t. Half of them stood empty. Some had space between them, others sharing a wall.

There were a few houses scattered here and there, too, in this wide plain, set slap in the middle of mountains and woods, rocks and a long old stretch of wilderness.

There was wealth to be had a day’s ride from here. In cattle, in timber cut from the dense forests, even in tourist because of the beauty of nearby Lake Tahoe. Add in the heavily traveled California trail that went along the north side of Lake Tahoe and there was money to be made.

There was also the Comstock Lode that’d turned hard working miners into millionaires.

Yep, there was wealth to be had, but somehow Dismal managed to avoid it. Apparently, ambitious folks rode a day away and didn’t come back.

Now, Penny needed to get somewhere so she could yell in private. It was easy to find a quiet spot. The whole town was a quiet spot. Of course, it wouldn’t be quiet once she got there.

“I want to know exactly who you are, mister.” Penny walked fast away from the sheriff’s office. Just as well put some space between her and the law. In case this came to fists.

She didn’t want the sheriff mad at her…in the event she was within a few minutes of committing a crime.

McCall struck her as the type to not punch a woman, so who knew how tough she might be able to get?

He kept up with no trouble. He was a long-legged galoot. Good enough looking, but she spent most of her life surrounded by men, so few of them impressed her much—especially when it came to looks. She’s learned long ago a pretty face didn’t make up for a foul character. And how could this child stealing varmint be anything but?

“Where’d you get the blamed fool notion you’ve got any right to my nephew?” Penny had to admit they’d been busy, but why had no one demanded some answers?

She heard thundering hooves and turned to watch Trace gallop off at top speed on his fleet footed black stallion. He’d gotten shut of their prisoner, what was left of him after he’d been chawed on by a wolf, then shot to death three times.

That left her alone with this low-down coyote.

Penny decided they’d come far enough. Past all but two empty store fronts at the far edge of rough and ready Dismal, Nevada. She stopped between the last buildings, and turned to face him, arms crossed.

“We’re going to clear this up right now. You will never take my nephew.”

“You nephew is the grandson of the people who hired me. They have a solid claim on that little boy.”

“I know the Chiltons. I lived with Abe and Delia for two years, since before Ronnie was born. The Chiltons—”

A gun cocked with an ugly metallic click in the darkened alley between the stores. A second gun jacked a bullet into the barrel. A third. Penny whirled to face three masked gunmen.

The one in the center said, “Not a word out of either of you.”

Penny gasped and stumbled back a step right into McCall. He slid an arm around her and pulled her back, got one shoulder in front of her.

“Freeze.” The middle outlaw extended his gun. “I only need one of you alive.”

McCall stopped. Penny felt him tense with frustration that he hadn’t put himself fully between her and those guns.

“We don’t have much money,” McCall said. “Take it all, we won’t—”

“Shut up!” The gunman cut McCall off. The man was wearing a heavy coat, thin leather gloves. His face was masked with a red bandana, a hat pulled low over eyes that glowed black.

“I have questions and, if I get the answers I want, no harm will come to you. Don’t fight me. I’ll shoot one of you dead and wound the other. One is all I need to get my answers and you’ll talk better if you’re bleedin’, so just shut up.”

They stood, frozen, waiting. Penny hoped for an opening to run or draw her gun and attack. She always carried her pistol. In the bag she wore slung over her neck and under her arm, dangling below her right hand. But it was her left side that McCall shielded. No possible chance to get her gun drawn in time to shoot three cold-eyed men.

“Ask your questions. We’ll tell you whatever you want to know, just don’t harm the woman.” McCall the hero. He was lucky she was too cautious to move or she’d’ve swatted him.

His voice was smooth as water over a stone, too. Calm and cool. Like he’d had so many guns aimed at him he didn’t take much notice anymore.

The cool was fake though. She felt his coiled muscles, knew he was looking for an opening. And, like her, he was well aware these men weren’t about to give them one.

“Walk toward the alley. Side by side, slow. Get outta the street.”

Swallowing hard, no ideas sprang to her mind to save her and McCall, so when he stepped forward, she stayed with him.

The alley swallowed them up. The men, now much closer, wore different color bandanas, different hats and coats, but they were three of a kind.

When they were out of the line of sight of anyone on the street, the man said, “Turn around and put your hands behind your backs.”

McCall turned first and his eyes met hers, his jaw rigid. He glanced at the boardwalk just a step away from the alley entrance. He wanted her to make a run for it. He’d block her, there could be no doubt these outlaws would shoot.

McCall was offering to die for her.

The big gallant idiot.

She stepped aside and took another pace forward out of blocking distance. She wasn’t about to save herself at the cost of his life.

McCall glared, but there was more to it. His brow furrowed. Worry, even maybe grief. He didn’t expect this to end well. And judging by the steady hand on those guns and the short, clear demands, she knew they were dealing with a salty bunch.

Penny suspected he had the right of it, but even if she’d done it, dove away, run, in this mostly deserted town with no witnesses at hand, these men would’ve grabbed her and dragged her back. Done their worst.

She wasn’t going to let McCall die for nothing.

Turning, she put her hands behind her as they’d ordered. A man stepped up. Her hands were wrenched hard. The outlaw enjoyed causing pain. Her stomach twisted with fear of what might come.

rem:  What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

MARY:  Respect. Penny and John learned to respect each other. They are very different but they both realized how strong and decent and capable the other was…in their own way…respecting each other made it so love could grow.

rem:  OY! Such a good lesson, too. Anything you’d like to add?

MARY:  Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys always with a strong suspense thread. She is a two time Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist. She is the bestselling author of over 60 books and novellas.

Her most recent book series are: Garrison’s Law, High Sierra Sweethearts, Cimarron Legacy, Wild at Heart, Trouble in Texas, and Kincaid Bride for Bethany House Publishing. She’s also written four other series for Barbour Publishing and many novellas.

Mary has nearly a million books in print.

rem:  Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com

http://petticoatsandpistols.com

http://mconnealy.blogspot.com

http://www.maryconnealy.com

http://www.maryconnealy.com/newsletter.html

https://www.facebook.com/maryconnealy

http://twitter.com/maryconnealy

https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Connealy/e/B001JP2VBG

 

Mary’s newest book, The Unexpected Champion, released on 5 March.

City dweller John McCall never expected to be out in the High Sierras of 1868 on a wild-goose chase to find the Chiltons’ supposedly lost grandson. But now that he’s out here, things have gotten even more complicated, mostly due to wildcat Penny Scott. She’s not like any woman he’s ever met–comfortable in the woods, with a horse, and with a gun.

When Penny and John are taken against their will by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don’t have, both realize they’ve stumbled into something dangerous and complicated. With their friends and family desperately searching for them, Penny and John must make a daring escape.

When they emerge back into the real world, they are confronted with a kidnapper who just won’t stop. They must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, even as this city man and country woman fight a very inconvenient attraction to each other.

 

Authors always have to learn new things to write a book. We study the setting, the grass and trees, the native animals, career skills, clothing styles, we have to set our story in a time and place and to do that we need to learn new things.”

 

GIVEAWAY

Mary is offering a signed copy of The Unexpected Champion.

Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Sorry, U.S. addresses only.

Giveaway will begin at midnight on Thursday 4 April and end at 11:59 on Thursday 11 April. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.

RAFFLECOPTER

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b485f64b12/?

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview – Seekerville Blog Blitz, Mary Connealy, Giveaway

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